(C. Proxmire, June 22, 2013)
“These are genuine Ferndale parking meters, controversial!” said local celebrity newsman Charlie Langton as he auctioned off artistically re-purposed parking meters at the ARTWN party on June 21 at the Rust Belt Market. The meters came down earlier this year when replaced with a digital multi-space system that got Ferndale talking. The old coin-operated models were mainly sold off, but some were kept by the Downtown Development Authority to give local artists a chance to turn them into masterpieces.
The ARTWN event (“Art Town”) raised money to help the DDA purchase at least two sculptures from the public art exhibit that was temporarily installed around town last year. The decorated parking meters were auctioned off, with some fetching several hundred dollars. Attendees were able to vote on which sculptures they would most like to keep.
“Ferndale is art,” said DDA Exeuctive Director Christina Sheppard-Decius. “We know that change is good. Everything we’re doing here in Downtown Ferndale is changing the face of Metro Detroit and making this area a bright, thriving area to both live and play in. And we know that each and every one of you are a part of that.”
Attendees enjoyed food from local restaurants like Dino’s Lounge, Howe’s Bayou and Rosie O’Grady’s, plus psychic readings from Boston Tea Room. There was also a guidebook given to explain where all of Ferndale’s ARTWN sculptures are located, and a surprise visit from the cast of “Hair,” doing a number from the famous musical.
Jeannie Davis was among those who attended the event. She placed her vote for the Red Ram sculpture, which is located at W. 9 Mile and Livernois. “The ram is so quirky and it was so open to the public making fun of it. I remember it had the PEZ sticker on it and people were talking about it on Facebook. It was fun for the city and I think people really got into it.”
Councilperson Daniel Martin found himself torn between two sculptures. “I really like the one that’s outside of Como’s, the bent brush. The Red Ram is probably my favorite because it has become an icon. It’s become a really identifiable feature in the city, as art should be.” Martin added, “I’m supportive of the ARTWN project. I think public art really enhances the look and feel of the community.”